ST. LOUIS – When Steelers Nation started chanting, "Here We Go, Steelers, Here We Go" during the St. Louis Rams player introductions, the rumored Steelers fan takeover of the Edward Jones Dome was, in essence, made official.
Well before that moment, though, there were signs everywhere that Steelers Nation was making the Midwestern city home for the weekend.
It started on Saturday night, when Steelers Nation Unite met up with fans from across Steelers Nation at Helen Fitzgerald's Irish Grill & Pub. Helen's is the game day home of the St. Louis Steelers Fan Club, but on Saturday night it was more than just the faction of fans from St. Louis who were in attendance.
"Steelers Nation is awesome. If you Google 'Steelers St. Louis' we're the second link that comes up. People actually sought me out, but I also contacted other fan clubs in Chicago, Tulsa, Memphis and Kansas City and reached out to everybody to say this is where we'll be Saturday night. As you can see, that's what happened," said Paul Delong, founder of the St. Louis Steelers fan club and the organizer for this get together.
Among the fans in attendance were members of Steelers Nation Unite, who checked in on the Steelers mobile app and received Terrible Towels. For signing up for Steelers Nation Unite, fans received SNU can koolies to help them show their Steelers pride while enjoying their favorite beverage.
However, there was something more than just giveaways that made Saturday night special – it was the sense of unity and camaraderie fans were sharing as they celebrated the Steelers first trip to St. Louis since 2007.
With fans coming from California, Oklahoma, Iowa and Illinois, among many other places, Delong had the feeling that Sunday afternoon was going to be quite the scene in the Edward Jones Dome.
"I was there the last time the Steelers were here eight years ago," said Delong. "Everyone knows Steelers fans travel well, but they also just live everywhere. I think this year there's going to be a lot more Steelers fans than last time. It's always a great experience to see the Terrible Towels going in somebody else's home."
Delong was spot on with his prediction.
Sunday morning provided instant proof that Steelers Nation was ready to make another statement on the road. The chants and excitement were noticeable well before kickoff, as hundreds of fans crowded around the exterior of the stadium to welcome the team buses as they pulled in. It was quite the scene, but only the start of what was to come.
A quick walk through the parking lots yielded interactions with fans from Arkansas, Tennessee, and even a group of 52 people who made the trip out from Homestead, PA, just down the river from the Steelers training facility.
These fans also received rewards and recognition from Steelers Nation Unite, scoring SNU Terrible Towels and t-shirts for being members and coming out to support their team on the road.
The scene inside continued to be heavily colored with Steelers gold, as Terrible Towels were flying throughout the game, and the yells of "HEEEATH" when Heath Miller hauled-in a pass were Heinz Field-esque.
It was a takeover. There's no other way to put it, really. Another job well done for Steelers Nation.
It's days like Saturday and Sunday that further prove why Steelers Nation is truly the greatest fan base in the world. With Steelers Nation Unite, fans get recognized for that exact reason.
Free to join, fans can sign up at www.SteelersNationUnite.com to get recognized as official members of Steelers Nation and stay connected year round to everything happening with their team.
Scenes from St. Louis as Steelers fans flocked to the Midwest for this matchup between the Steelers and Rams in Week 3 of the 2015 NFL season.